FROM THE FAULKNER COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 23CR-16-221]
HONORABLE CHARLES E. CLAWSON, JR., JUDGE
Law Firm, by: Lee D. Short, for appellant.
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Amanda Jegley, Ass't
Att'y Gen., for appellee.
RAYMOND R. ABRAMSON, JUDGE.
Edward Rockins appeals his conviction of aggravated robbery
for which he was sentenced to 60 years' imprisonment in
the Arkansas Department of Correction for the
aggravated-robbery conviction. He challenges the sufficiency of
the evidence presented at trial, arguing that he never
threatened to use force against the store clerk. We affirm
trial, the State presented the testimony of the store clerk,
Candice Thomas, who testified that Rockins entered the
convenience store and told her, "this is a god-damned
robbery." Thomas testified that she saw the handle of a
gun in Rockins's waistband and that his right hand was on
the gun. She testified that he never took out the gun,
pointed it at her, or mentioned it. After Rockins told her it
was a robbery, she put her hands up and started handing
Rockins money from the cash register. Rockins then left, and
Thomas went outside the convenience store to call the police.
The State played the 911 call at trial, and the dispatcher
told Thomas multiple times to take a deep breath and to calm
down because Thomas was audibly upset by the incident. Later,
when the detective working the case showed Thomas a photo
lineup of suspects, she began to tremble, shake visibly, and
tear up when she saw the photo of Rockins.
challenge to the sufficiency of evidence presented at trial,
this court considers only the evidence supporting the
conviction in the light most favorable to the State and
determines whether the verdict is supported by substantial
evidence. Sweet v. State, 2011 Ark. 20, at 9, 370
S.W.3d 510, 518. Substantial evidence is evidence that is
forceful enough to compel a conclusion beyond suspicion or
conjecture. Id. Because a criminal defendant's
intent can seldom be proved by direct evidence, it must
usually be inferred from the circumstances surrounding the
crime. Feuget v. State, 2012 Ark.App. 182, at 2, 394
S.W.3d 310, 311. Jurors are allowed to draw upon their common
knowledge and experience to infer intent from the
circumstances, and it is presumed that a person intends the
natural and probable consequences of his or her acts.
argues that he never threatened to harm Thomas; therefore,
sufficient evidence was not established to convict him of
aggravated robbery. A person commits robbery if, with the
purpose of committing a felony or misdemeanor theft,
"the person employs or threatens to immediately employ
physical force upon another person." Ark. Code Ann.
§ 5-12-102(a) (Repl. 2013). A person commits aggravated
robbery if the person commits a robbery while armed with a
deadly weapon. Ark. Code Ann. § 5-12-103(a).
the appellant makes no mention that he or she is armed, this
court focuses on what the victim perceived concerning a
deadly weapon. Feuget, supra. In
Feuget, the appellant argued that he could not be
charged with two counts of robbery because he threatened only
one victim, and he could not have threatened a victim behind
him who did not see a deadly weapon. Feuget entered a bank
and handed bags to bank tellers. Id. The bank
manager, Mr. Long, testified that Feuget pulled up his shirt
and showed something to the bank tellers. Id. Mr.
Long did not see what was in Feuget's waistband, and
Feuget did not say anything to Mr. Long. Id. Mr.
Long began filling the bags with money. Id. This
court affirmed Feuget's conviction of aggravated robbery
against Mr. Long because Mr. Long felt threatened and
believed that he should comply with whatever Feuget wanted so
that Feuget would leave as soon as possible. Id.
is no requirement that a threat of physical harm be made
directly or indirectly to a victim-only that it be
immediately threatened, however that may be communicated.
Robinson v. State, 317 Ark. 17, 875 S.W.2d 837
(1994). In Robinson, our supreme court held that the
appellant committed aggravated robbery against a customer in
harm's way even though the appellant only directly
threatened a store clerk.
present case, the evidence is sufficient to support
Rockins's conviction that he committed aggravated robbery
against Candice Thomas. Thomas testified that she saw a gun
in Rockins's waistband and that Rockins's hand was on
the gun when he told her it was a robbery. Thomas testified
that she was scared and manifested her fear by throwing her
hands in the air and then giving money to Rockins. Her fear
was further manifested by her terrified demeanor on the phone
with the 911 dispatcher and her trembling and tearful
reaction when shown Rockins's photo. By telling Thomas it
was a robbery and holding his hand on a gun, Rockins
communicated a threat of imminent harm to Thomas. Whether
Rockins verbally conveyed that he was going to harm Thomas is
irrelevant, as this court held in Feuget and our
supreme court held in Robinson. There, sufficient
evidence supported convictions when victims did not even see
a weapon, because the victims perceived a threat communicated
by appellants' actions toward other victims. Thomas
perceived a threat when she saw Rockins's hand on a gun
and he told her it was a robbery. The jury chose to believe
her testimony; consequently, sufficient evidence supports
Rockins's conviction of aggravated robbery. Therefore, we
affirm his conviction.
Gruber, C.J., and ...